MEDINA — Five new kindergarten teachers were hired for the upcoming school year as Medina Schools implements all-day kindergarten, the district’s director of instruction told the board of education Monday.
The salaries, materials and furniture for the new instructors will come to about $760,000, Tina Cassidy said.
She said the district budgeted for 10 teachers. However, there wasn’t a need for that many due to kindergarten enrollment figures. She said about 400 students have enrolled in all-day kindergarten.
“It turned out to be a lot less than we thought it would be,” Cassidy said.
Medina had 14 full-time kindergarten teachers in 2017-18 and 437 students. Waite Elementary (83) and Northrop Elementary (73) had the largest classes.
By law, the district has to offer half-day kindergarten, and Cassidy said there are only a handful of half-day students enrolled for the 2018-19 school year that begins Aug. 20.
She previously said all-day kindergarten students show greater reading and math achievement gains than those in half-day classes.
“All-day kindergarten can produce long-term gains, especially for low-income and minority students,” she said.
Superintendent Aaron Sable previously said all-day kindergarten was the most expensive item in the district’s five-year strategic plan, and Medina planned to go forward with all-day kindergarten even if the 5.2-mill substitute emergency levy hadn’t passed in May.
“We’re coming up on a pretty special year,” Sable said. “We spent a lot of time in the trenches the last two years building a foundation. That started in 2016-17 where we spent the bulk of year putting together a strategic plan.
“Last year, we started implementation of our strategic plan. Now we have the tools to put it in motion. The largest tool was the finances. We’re going full force with the implementation of the strategic plan.”
He said the elementary-school principals and Jim Shields, director of human resources/legal counsel, should be credited for hiring the new teachers.
“We’re close to having every teacher in place,” Shields said.
“It’s a great time in the district,” Sable said.
He said staff orientation will be Aug. 15. The following day will be the staff opening convocation, which will kick off with a pep assembly for the staff.
“We’ll develop some excitement,” he said. “I think it’s important to set the tone on opening day. We’ll have people really excited going into the new year.”